Thursday, February 2, 2017



SMYRNA, Del. Feb 2 2017 -- Two of four hostages being held in the James T. Vaughn state correctional facility in Smyrna, Delaware were released on Wednesday.
Officials say negotiations continue for two other correctional officers, including a woman, who are still being held hostage. Officials clarified that originally four correctional officers were taken hostage, not five as they first reported.
One hostage was released Wednesday afternoon and another was released hours later. The first hostage was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. ABC affiliate WPVI-TV learned that the 35-year-old guard was struck numerous times with fists and a mop wringer.
The second hostage was taken away from the scene in a wheelchair and was said to have suffered non-life threatening injuries.
"Working with the Department of Corrections, the FBI and the Delaware State police, we continue negotiations to obtain a peaceful, safe resolution," said Sgt. Richard Bratz.
This incident also involved, at one point, a blanket being set on fire in a closet.
The incident began in Building C of the complex with a radio call for help around 10:30 a.m. That building houses between 120-150 inmates. It is also where maximum security inmates transition to medium security.
It is not known how many hostage-takers are present. Earlier in the day, inmates reached out to The News Journal in Wilmington to explain their actions and make demands.
In that call, an inmate said their reasons "for doing what we're doing" included "Donald Trump. Everything that he did. All the things that he's doing now. We know that the institution is going to change for the worse."
That caller said education for prisoners was the inmates' priority. They also said they want effective rehabilitation for all prisoners and information about how money is allocated to prisons.
Authorities said they'd been communicating with the hostage-takers via radio. They also noted that inmates in Building C had access to television and could be watching news conferences live.
Officials stated there was no threat to the public.
All of Delaware's state prisons were placed on lockdown -- that included the Howard Young Correctional Facility in Wilmington, the Baylor Women's Facility in New Castle and the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown.
According to the department's website, the prison is Delaware's largest correctional facility for men, housing about 2,500 inmates. It houses minimum, medium and maximum security inmates, and houses Kent County detainees awaiting trial.
The prison is also the site of the state's death row and where executions were carried out.
Officials said the incident was not the first hostage situation at the prison.

In 2004, an inmate raped a counselor and took her hostage for nearly seven hours at the Smyrna prison, according to an Associated Press report at the time. A department sharpshooter later shot and killed 45-year-old Scott Miller, according to the report, ending the standoff.

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